Builders train sights on new swathes of greenbelt land

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DEVELOPERS have been given the green light to challenge a council over its bid to stop open spaces being swallowed up by housing estates.

North Lanarkshire’s draft Local Plan was called in by the Scottish Government last year after developers objected to 39 sites in villages including Auchinloch, Stepps, Moodiesburn, Chryston and Muirhead not being part of the original finalised draft.

The Government’s Directorate of Planning and Environmental Appeals (DPEA) has now launched a consultation.

Residents are being given until August 1 to lodge their objections.

Strathkelvin councillor William Hogg said: “This is shocking and the suggested notional figure of 8,153 extra homes would completely destroy the greenbelt within our ward.

“The population figure for 2010 stood at 19,670 and this is forecast to rise to 20,110 by 2020, according to the Government’s own current statistics.

“To proceed in such an ad hoc manner without proper consultation would be against the principles of the democratic rights of the constituents of Strathkelvin.”

Councillor Joe Shaw said: “I’m absolutely shocked and I’m sure the council are as well.

“We don’t have the infrastructure to take on these houses and what greenbelt is going to be left for our youngsters?

“I would urge people to object, they have got to make their voices heard.”

Councillor Brian Wallace said: “This is the worst possible scenario for Strathkelvin. The communities I represent fought tooth and nail to avoid this and they’ve had the rug pulled from under them.”

And Councillor Frances McGlinchey said: “Developers have been given carte blanche to destroy greenbelt and that’s not good news.”

The consultation follows concerns from developers that the original draft plan did not provide sufficient land for short-term house building.

Lorna Bowden, business manager – strategic planning for North Lanarkshire Council, said: “Neighbouring property owners are being consulted by the DPEA and they have until August 1 to respond.

“North Lanarkshire Council is maintaining its opposition to the development of the additional sites.”